PAX East 2010 - Slam Bolt Scrappers Impressions

by: Ben Berry -
More On: PAX East 2010 Slam Bolt Scrappers
Slam Bolt Scappers by Fire Hose Games was one of six games chosen to participate in the Indie Game Challenge at PAX East this weekend. The Indie Game Challenge was a way for Boston area indie development houses with 15 employees or less to have their games displayed without reaching into their marketing budget. Living now in Boston, I wanted to make the games that were chosen for the Challenge a good sized part of my PAX experience.
I was fortunate to get a few minutes playing Slam Bolt Scrappers while speaking with Ethan Fenn a programmer (and according to his business card principal trombonist) on the project. The game is a mix of action and Tetris-styled building. Basically, your character fist fights flying enemies who give you building shapes when they die. You use the shapes to build towers to defend your energy source. When you stack the same color shapes in at least a 2x2 square it becomes something new based on the color; different color blocks do different things. Some are lasers, some fire missiles and some are shields, and apparently other weapons become available later on. The bigger the square you build the more powerful the item becomes.
I played the two player mode against a human opponent. I played against Ethan, so you can imagine the outcome. The game supports up to 4 players in either head to head or a co-op mode. Playing someone who knew what they were doing made the outcome obvious, but was also quite fun. I liked how you could maneuver up and down the tower with your character to place the block in open spots without having to drop it from above. There were more opportunities to fill in holes or to make up for block placement mistakes. I liked the pace of the action, and how the level built in difficulty as more and more weapons came into play.
Slam Bolt Scrappers will be coming to a console near you in the near future.